Academic journal article Judicature

Self-Help Centers Improve Access to Justice

Academic journal article Judicature

Self-Help Centers Improve Access to Justice

Article excerpt

According to a report by the California Task Force on Self-Represented Litigants, self-help centers in state trial courts are helping thousands of Californians who need legal assistance and cannot afford an attorney. The task force evaluated five self-help pilot centers in Butte/Glenn/Tehama Counties and in Fresno, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Contra Costa Counties. The report, titled "Model Self-Help Pilot Programs: A Report to the Legislature," found that self-help centers:

* Offer a valuable method for providing services to persons who need access to legal information and for improving the quality of justice for litigants;

* Facilitate litigants' ability to participate effectively in the legal process;

* Improve court efficiency;

* Help courts design systems to serve self-represented litigants more effectively;

* Promote public trust and confidence in the court system;

* Meet a great need for service in their communities; and

* Have the capacity to meet the needs of many non-English-speaking litigants. …

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